12 May 2006

Day After...

A few general observations from last night's win-

  • Tim Wakefield has been our most consistent starter all year.

  • Next time someone has a problem believing that Derek Jeter isn't near a Gold Glove calibre SS- show them a tape of last night's game. Doug Mirabelli hit a ball up the middle that went to his left- his worst range side- and it was by him easy, though it was only two steps over from him. The big play, however, was Loretta's ball in the 7th, a play that was a step and a half to his right. Jeter needed a dive and go to his knees to get the ball, one that 8 out of 10 MLB SSs have on their feet between their legs.

    As a result, Jeter had to rush a poor throw, and it got away. Derek Jeter is the reason they lost last night.

    Now, I like Derek Jeter. It's not his "fault" that he gets heaped with this absolutely irrational manlove from every media member in baseball. But that doesn't make the hype absolutely ridiculous. To me, Derek Jeter is a LOT like Nolan Ryan- and Bill James made this original point about Ryan- the perception of Jeter has gotten to the point where he's never, ever going to be criticized. Ever- even his shortcomings are somehow part of this hue of greatness that just exudes from him.

    Both Nolan Ryan and Derek Jeter are/ were Hall of Fame baseball players, with no doubt. Both, however, have certain flaws- Ryan was often a wild pitcher, who walked too many batters and, in many seasons, had somewhat inflated ERAs. He got a lot of wins from being on good teams, as well. Now, Ryan's career progressed to a point where sportscasters didn't dare mention these shortcomings, because their professon demands they present themselves as an "authority" on the subject. Part of this is the "getting it" mentality- if you criticize Ryan, you risk appearing as if you "dont' get it."

    "Ryan throws nearly 100 MPH- into his 40s! C'mon- you know that's great."

    Same thing happens to Jeter. This mythos has built up around him, and his shortcomings- like his defense- are ignored (and this is helped by the lack of faith the common baseball fan puts in defensive metrics, along with those wholly undeserved Gold Gloves). Plus, his strengths are blown way out of proportion- like how he's suddenly the "best baserunner in baseball" and the "best in baseball on going back on a popup." Maybe it's true- but probably not. If you question these things- on air, you get chuckled at, like you don't... "get it."

    Anyway, he's still a great player. But great players have poor moments. It happens. It actually makes him more interesting this way, I think.

  • That being said, I think Kay isn't as bad this year. Maybe I'm a bit anaesthetized to it, or I just don't bother about it anymore. I still think Jim Kaat is one of the best color guys in baseball, though. He's just really awesome. Yea, he gets stuck in "old school mode" a bit here and there, and he's kind of a homer too, but that doesn't really bother me. Homerism is expected. Stupidity is annoying. He almost always seems to be even-handed, too- I like a guy that I can tell is seriously considering his points, etc- even if I end up disagreeing with him. For instance, his contention that no free agent had a bigger impact in his "time" (when Boston signed him) on their team than Johnny Damon. Probably not true- but an interesting point.

    O'Neill seems like a good guy, but just not a great broadcaster. Doesn't really bring much to the table.

    Plus, there's really no reason for more than two guys in the booth. It's just wasted airspace to have a third guy.

  • Damon's catch was pretty incredible. I think he made it look a lot easier than it was. Tremendous, tremendous play. Bubba's- eh. Seemed like a can of corn that just happened to be at the wall. Not a huge deal, but you can see why they made it into one.

  • I thought the work done by Timlin, Foulke and Papelbon was incredible.

    Timlin looked his best of the season- especially on his strikeout in the 7th of Rodriguez. Rodriguez was fouling a lot of Timlin's pitches off, staying in the AB, and looked to be getting better swings each time. To get one by him up and away like that was really, really impressive. Kept the ball down, and commanded the strike zone.

    Foulke gave up a leadoff 2B to Williams despite a decent pitch, then battled back to get two big outs before Francona bought Papelbon in to get the RHH with two outs. His changeup looked really, really solid, and his fastball had life. Plus, the cutters/ sliders/ splits he's been mixing in occasionally have been effective. He can't get beat on those pitches, so he uses them as "show me" pitches. Really effective in certain spots.

    Cairo is tough to strike out, as he made very clear- he has a short swing, and makes a lot of contact. He was fouling off every fastball Papelbon pumped at him- until finally he dealt an absolutely NASTY split to strike him out. Tremendous stuff. His 9th was really good too- Crosby didn't have a shot, and after getting a real quick out on Damon via the pop-up, he really battled Jeter. Jeter really put together an impressive AB there (though it's worth noting that, as usual, the league's absolute worst ump, Greg Gibson, was in perfect form last night against both sides). The Giambi at bat was my favorite- had the stones to get him out inside, jamming him and forcing a pop up to end the game. Great, great stuff.

  • I literally thought in my head, with Varitek/ Harris/ Gonzalez in the 9th against Rivera, "well, no runs here..." That was a nice backbreak when it was needed. I mean, Willie Harris smoked that off Rivera. What the fuck was that?

  • As great a win as it was- it would have been a devastating loss if it had broken differently. Just atrocious all night with runners on, and not knocking Shawn Chacon around for more than one run when he can't get out of the 5th is really, really frustrating.

    That's a big problem so far this season- scoring runners from third with less than two outs.

  • So, Scott Procter is one of those freakshows that wears his uniform pants ass-tight, huh? Awesome.

  • Uh- was it me, or was Tanyon Sturtze perilously close to crying after he walked Ramirez last night, as Torre came to get him? Bizarre. His lip was quivering like crazy. I'm actually not kidding, too...

    There were stories in the NY papers that Sturtze went to town on his toiletries bag with a baseball bat after Tuesday's game.

    I'm just saying- this is what happens to good pitchers that have a little luck. They revert back to being bad. I gotta say, seeing the horseshoes fly out of Small and Sturtze's asses is kinda satisfying.

  • Looks like most/ all of this weekend's games will be effected by weather. Let's get Texas.
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